Travel Safety Evolving in Response to COVID-19

Get There Safely & Confidently with AAA

With a number of states and local governments limiting travel due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), potential travelers are wondering when will it be safe to resume planning future travel. At this time, unfortunately, there are still many unknowns and travel safety continues to evolve in the face of COVID-19.  Travel, now more than ever, is a very personal decision and we understand that not everyone is ready to start talking about their next getaway just yet. And that’s okay!

The health and safety of our members has always been at the forefront for AAA and when you’re ready to start traveling again you can count on us to make sure your next adventure is unforgettable – for all the right reasons. In the meantime, AAA will continue sharing trusted advice and tips to assist you, our members, in these uncertain times.

AAA remains in constant communication with our preferred travel partners to gain insight on what protocols are being implemented in response to COVID-19 to ensure safe travels in the future. Here is an outline of what you can expect when traveling with AAA and our preferred partners in this new travel environment.

Keep in mind travel conditions are continuously evolving, for latest updates please contact your AAA Travel Professional.

Air Travel | Hotels | Car Rental | Theme Parks | Cruise | Tour | Rail

COVID-19 Travel Safety

covid-19 travel safety

Air Travel

Airlines around the world are working hard to ensure the health and safety of travelers and their employees are top priority. For the last few months, airports and airlines have been working closely with public health partners to respond to and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Passenger numbers are beginning to rise each week, and airports and airlines are doing everything they can to make sure the airport is a safe and welcoming place for all when travel picks up again. For all airport updates please visit TSA.gov. In addition, always check your airline’s website prior to your flight for possible changes in procedures. When you’re ready to fly, the airport might look a little different than your last journey. Here is what you can expect:

  • Face coverings are required at most airports and onboard the airlines – except for children under the age of 2 and people with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a face covering.
  • Cleaning practices have been enhanced in high-touch areas – like the escalator and moving walkway handrails, food court tables, and bathrooms.
  • All food must be packed in a clear bag and will be taken out for inspection at TSA
  • In addition to the current TSA liquid 3-1-1 rule, travelers are allowed one 12 oz bottle of hand sanitizer.
  • If you are picking up a passenger, wait for them outside. Most airports are limiting the number of people inside the terminal to minimize congestion. Some travelers need a little assistance getting on their way. If that’s the case, you are welcome to step inside and give them the help they need.

Additional Airport Tips

  • At TSA, take out any electronics bigger than your phone
  • Pack small items like coins and cell phones inside your carry-on bag to help prevent cross contamination
  • Wash your hands after clearing security and pack hand lotion for dry hands
  • Pack an airplane kit that includes an additional fresh mask and wipes
  • Pack a day’s worth of food as restaurants may not be open – only grab and go sandwiches
  • If you checked bags, be sure to wipe down your handles on your suitcase upon arrival

Hotels

As the world begins to gradually reopen, AAA’s preferred hotel partners are excited to welcome AAA members back to their hotels while exceeding your health and well being expectations. When you are ready to travel again, our hotel partners know that you will have a heightened awareness of cleanliness when it comes to your choice of accommodations. Though many of AAA’s preferred hotel partners have adopted similar COVID-19 traveler safety protocols, please note, there may be slight differences between hotel brands and geographical regions. Here is what Best Western® Hotels & Resorts are doing to keep you safe when you’re ready to travel again.

Front Desk and Lobby

  • New protocols will minimize guest contact with personnel through a streamlined check-in and check-out process such as the use of Best Western’s Mobile Concierge platform.
  • Social distancing measures will be implemented, wellness best practices signs will be prominently posted, and all lobby brochures, magazines and papers will be removed.
  • Enhanced sanitization procedures will be in place at the front desk, in the lobby and across guest touch points throughout the hotel with disinfecting taking place regularly.
  • Sanitizing stations or wipes will be available throughout hotels.

Guest Room and Housekeeping

  • Enhanced and thorough cleaning protocols will be implemented in guest rooms. If possible, guest rooms will not be entered for 24 to 72 hours after check-out, at which time the room, linens and all touch points, for example, faucets, door handles, light switches, thermostats, clocks and hangers will be cleaned with chemicals aimed at killing COVID-19.
  • Unnecessary items will be removed from guest rooms, such as decorative pillows, bed scarves, paper notepads and pens.
  • For guest and employee safety and well-being, daily housekeeping service will be by request.

Temporary Breakfast Offerings

  • While recognizing the importance of a quality breakfast, offerings have been adapted to prioritize your health and safety, including:
  • Breakfast offerings that comply with local regulations, with breakfast rooms closed where required to avoid unnecessary guest congregation.
  • Enhanced ‘Grab & Go’ offerings will be implemented in most hotels providing guests with pre-packaged food and beverage options.
  • Hotels may opt to provide a “served” or pre-plated breakfast to minimize guest

Public Amenities

  • When allowed to open, public amenities such as fitness centers, swimming pools and meeting rooms will be cleaned on closely monitored schedules with disinfecting chemicals. Each evening, these areas may also be sanitized with the use of electrostatic fogging, ozone generators or ultraviolet devices (once available).
  • Hand sanitizer or wipes will be provided for guests and employees in all public areas. contact with food, beverages and surfaces, and cross contamination.

Hotel Employees and Staff Requirements

  • Hotel employees will follow strict guidelines, including utilizing Personal Protective Equipment, frequent and stringent hand-washing protocols, and housekeepers/laundry staff will wear both gloves and a mask.
  • Employee workstations will be cleaned and disinfected after every shift.
  • Employees will be empowered to stay home if unwell, communicate their potential exposure to COVID-19 with management, and will be fully educated on how to maintain a safe and clean home.

Car Rentals

AAA’s preferred rental car partners are committed to going the extra mile for you today and always. When you’re ready to travel again or have other transportation needs, know that the focus remains on getting you where you need to go safely and confidently. Here is what Hertz has implemented to keep you and your travel companions safe when you’re ready to hit the road.

In addition to following social distancing best practices at all locations, Hertz is raising the bar on standards for COVID-19 safety and cleanliness. This year, Hertz introduced Hertz Gold Standard Clean, an enhanced vehicle disinfectant and sanitization process designed to give you total confidence when you rent a car.

Every vehicle will be sealed and certified ‘Hertz Gold Standard Clean’ after undergoing a 15-point cleaning and sanitization process that follows U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

Theme Park COVID-19 Safety

Theme Parks

As you prepare to visit theme parks in the future, know that updates have been made based on guidance from health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and appropriate government agencies.

It may be a little different from the last time you visited. But together, we can find new ways to create magical moments—and memories to treasure!

Top Things You Should Know

  • Park Reservations: Depending on the theme park you are visiting, you will likely need to make reservations beforehand. Park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date will be needed for entry.
  • Face Coverings: Face Coverings will be required for all employees and guests – except for children ages three and under. They are to be worn at all times except when consuming food or beverage or in designated areas.
  • Temperature Screenings: Temperature screenings are required for entry to some locations.
  • Floor Markings: When present, stand on the floor markings until the group in front of you moves forward.
  • Follow Team Member Direction: Follow directions from the theme park employees and have patience they navigate these new operational procedures.
  • Theme Park Applications: If the theme park has an app, it’s a great idea to download and get familiar with the app before you go. The applications can provide you with park information, assist you with check-in at on property hotels, give you access to digital restaurant menus and more!

COVID-19 Travel Safety on River Cruises

Ocean and River Cruise Lines

To protect the health and safety of all onboard, AAA’s preferred cruise partners are closely monitoring the evolving situation with respect to COVID-19. They are working hard to provide you peace of mind when cruising so you can focus on the fun! Cruise lines are working directly with government health authorities, public health experts, local ports and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) to ensure you and your travel companions have a safe experience while onboard their ships. While each cruise line has slightly different procedures in place to ensure safety onboard, here is what you can expect the next time you cruise:

Pre-Cruise

The cruise lines are constantly monitoring the global health map and will cancel or modify itineraries to impacted areas if necessary and will prevent guests and crew who have recently traveled through these high-risk locations from boarding.

Cruise lines will deny boarding to guests and crew if they have been in contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or a person being monitored for COVID-19. They will also deny boarding to individuals who are displaying a fever or flu-like symptoms prior to embarkation.

Embarkation

At embarkation, all guests and crew will be required mandatory health screenings, which may include a thermal scan to check temperatures, and in some cases, secondary screenings. Depending on the results, boarding will be denied to certain individuals if determined they could pose a risk to others.

Highly touched surfaces throughout each embarkation terminal will be sanitized continuously and thoroughly, and, where possible, fogged before and after each embarkation and debarkation.

On Board

The new COVID-19 travel safety protocols will likely include reducing the number of guests onboard the ships. Crew members are required to wear face coverings at all times and guests will be required to wear them only while moving around the ship.

In addition to the rigorous daily cleaning regimens already done onboard, cruise lines are establishing additional sanitation measures on all ships, which include sanitizing frequently touched surfaces in all public areas – from tables and chairs to casino chips and fitness machines.

Hand-washing sinks or hand sanitizer dispensers are placed in front of entrances to all dining venues. Crew will monitor entrances to all venues to encourage guests to wash their hands before entering. Additional hand sanitizer dispensers will be added to high-traffic areas around the ships.

Meals will now be served by culinary and waitstaff with no self-service allowed at buffets. Depending on the cruise line, restaurant dining may have reserved seating, with guests at the same table, with the same people, each day.

Personal Responsibility

AAA’s preferred cruise line partners have done a lot to ensure that you are as safe as possible while traveling, however, there are some things you must do in advance to ensure you take personal responsibility for your well-being. This begins with packing any personal protective equipment and sanitizers you require. Please adopt physical distancing and hygiene practices throughout your pre-trip travel arrangements and be sure to follow all health instruction including physical signage and instructions from crew members while onboard to ensure a safe and enjoyable vacation for all.

Guided Tours

AAA’s preferred tour partners are working closely with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and are working to enhance COVID-19 travel safety protocols with diligence. They will continue to review these protocols frequently as the landscape changes. Please keep in mind that these protocols may vary slightly by tour partner and by the geographic regions you are visiting. They will continue to evolve over time as science continues to respond to this new reality.

Before Your Tour

Before going on your trip, you will likely need to complete a wellness declaration form before joining the tour. If you have transfers included in your tour package, all surfaces in the transfer vehicle will be disinfected daily and between passengers.

If you are traveling by air to get to your tour departure location, specific details will vary by airline, but standard operations typically include flight attendants wearing masks, sanitizing all surfaces between flights and physical distancing. For major airlines, refer to their website for full details.

On Tour

Tours will be operating in smaller groups and if the transportation between destinations is by motor coach, the tour will likely operate with a number of empty seats to allow guests to space out for a more comfortable experience. Within the motor coach, all surfaces will be sanitized often, including regular cleaning of high-touch areas with disinfecting wipes. Hand sanitizer will always be available, and the motor coach operators will wear protective gear when appropriate.

Some tour operators are including face coverings in the pre-tour documents, but it is a good idea to bring your own from home as well as masks will likely be required throughout many experiences on the tour including motor coach and air travel.

Tour managers and wellness directors have received extensive training on the new and enhanced hygiene and physical distancing protocols. They are able to manage a variety of unexpected situations – including illnesses and emergencies. They will be at your service 24/7 should any situation arise.

The specific protocols for lodging will vary depending on the destination and the hotel. Overall, guest rooms and public spaces will be deep cleaned regularly, with rooms disinfected thoroughly between guests. High-traffic areas like lobbies and elevators will be cleaned often.

covid-19 travel safety

Rail

AAA’s preferred rail partners have been following government guidelines and industry best practices as they continue to evolve around the prevention of COVID-19 and will continue to update and enhance health and safety procedures onboard the trains to ensure a safe travel experience for all.

 Check-In

During the quick and seamless check-in experience, you’ll be asked health related questions. Your temperature may be taken as a preventative measure as well. Train staff will wear face coverings, gloves and other items as needed to ensure COVID-19 travel safety for you and them.

Transfers and Boarding

If you have transfers scheduled to and from the train, you will be asked to wear a protective face covering while making the transfers. The number of guests travelling on each motor coach will be limited and seating procedures will be altered to ensure ample personal space between travel parties. Movement between motor coaches will also be limited so you will travel with the same group of guests for all transfers to and from the train. Boarding procedures have been changed so that you are now transferred directly from motor coaches to the train.

Onboard the Train

Depending on the rail operator, some train cars have been equipped with air filtration systems that ensure a constant intake and circulation of fresh air. At the start and end of each travel day train interiors are thoroughly sanitized using an electrostatic disinfectant sprayer. All high-touch and common areas onboard are disinfected throughout the travel day.

Protective face coverings are required while seated and moving about the train car. Anti-bacterial soap and fresh water are available in the onboard restrooms, and hand sanitizer is readily available throughout the train coach.

The number of onboard passengers has been adjusted to ensure ample personal space between travel parties. Team members will wear face coverings, gloves and other items as needed, during the preparation and service of food and beverage, and during all interactions with you.

Personal Responsibility

AAA’s preferred rail partners ask that you bring and wear a protective face covering, such as a non-medical face mask, in specific instances where the six feet distance between your travel group and others is not be possible.

When you’re ready to begin traveling again – AAA will be ready to help!

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact a local AAA Travel Agent.

Call 800.529.3222 | Visit a AAA Service Center | Request Travel Information